How the SARS purge began – Johan van Loggerenberg

Themba Maseko tells book launch that the state is being deliberately weakened

I'm ready to fight Hawks, NPA - Van Loggerenberg

Pretoria- Former SARS employee Johan Van Loggerenberg says he is ready to take on the Hawks and NPA in court to clear his name.

“Hawks and NPA you must come. Our consciences are clear and we are ready,” he said.

“If you want to abuse your power to achieve a nefarious end, that nefarious end will ultimately be exposed one way or the other.”

He was speaking on Thursday night during the launch of a book he co-authored with former SARS spokesperson Adrian Lackay titled Rogue: The inside story of SARS’s elite crime-busting unit , which tells their side of the story regarding the so called rogue unit.

He said they were ready to have their day in court and expose the narrative that was created to discredit the unit.

“If it means we have to go to court to do so then we will do so. The fight is on. I’m waiting for them,” he said.

Started with an email

Speaking about the information that is in the book, Van Loggerenberg said intelligence operatives were involved in the saga and it all started with a “complaint” in the form of an email that was sent in May of 2014 by a self-confessed operative.

He said he was then approached by another intelligence operative supposedly seeking to engage him to try and protect the reputation of the intelligence structure.

“He wanted to know what I knew. I call him Toby in the book. On the 20th of July 2014, two intelligence operatives met at a restaurant in the same shopping mall. The one says to the other one that he represents interests of people who wish to replace the entire leadership of SARS and the minister of finance.

"Eight days later Adrian and I start receiving media enquiries and both media houses say intelligence officials put out stories about me that they wanted to publish. All this while Toby meets with me,” he said.

Van Loggerenberg said information was put before five panels of attorneys, senior advocates, a retired judge, a panel with professional people, chattered accountants, a large audit firm and all their reports were leaked to the media.

“Not a single one of those panels reflected on what I said. Ask yourself why not? What kind of power can do that? What kind of power can make a committee chaired by a retired judge ignore an email that says there are people who are trying to replace the entire leadership of SARS and the finance minister?”

He added that there was a clear script with a common thread that went through the suspensions of former Hawks head Anwar Dramat, former Gauteng Hawks head Shadrack Sibiya, suspended KZN Hawks boss Johann Booysen and IPID head Robert McBride, to them at SARS.


The state is being deliberately weakened- Themba Maseko

Pretoria - The state is being deliberately weakened so that outside forces can take control and make financial gains, former GCIS CEO Themba Maseko has claimed.

“It’s not a coincidence that today if you check positions in government, the number of acting positions with no permanent heads running those institutions - the state is literally being weakened,” he said during the launch of a book entitled Rogue: The inside story of SARS’s elite crime-busting unit by former employees Johan Van Loggerenberg and Adrian Lackay.

“The reason is so that these forces can do as they please because when the state is weak they appoint people who will do as they please in order for them to achieve their objectives.”

He said SARS was plunged into turmoil and people removed out of the way to assist the agenda of certain individuals.

“SARS was one of the best-run state institutions in the country - the best tax collector and were dealing with one of the most sophisticated syndicates, the cigarette syndicate and they cracked that case. As they were cracking it, it was discovered that one of the family members of a politician is a shareholder in one of the companies implicated,” he said.

Maseko added that SARS was also dealing with very powerful people who were dodging taxes in the country.

“You start understanding why SARS becomes a target for them because these forces outside of government are seeing a state institution that is becoming a threat to their economic interests.

"It’s not a coincidence that you have an NPA that behaves the way it does today, [and] it’s not a coincidence that you have the Hawks behaving the way they do. You are dealing with forces that have unlimited resources,” he said.

Maseko said it was pivotal for South Africans to stand up and fight to protect their institutions at all costs.


State capture not unique to SA

Maseko says the problem of state capture is not unique to South Africa, because there are business people pulling strings of politicians around the globe.

"There is a generation or group of people that exists around the world whose sole purpose in life is to steal from public resources. They take over state institutions, they run politicians and their primary objective is to basically loot from you and my pocket," Maseko said.

"These people exist all over the world, it’s not just something that is unique to South Africa but it happens all over the world."

During his speech, Maseko spoke of the state capture taking place in India and Russia, before turning to South Africa.

He said that during his visit to India he got the opportunity to meet a lot of politicians and ordinary people who told him of the corruption taking place in the country.

"Corrupt business people basically own and run politicians. When I was there I read a lot of stories in the newspapers, almost on a daily basis, about how this minister, these senior civil servants were caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Essentially policies, projects, tenders are issued to benefit a certain family, company or individuals in that country," he said.

He spoke of one state in the country where the majority of the public servants were in the pockets of business people.

"I started to get a case study in one of the states that is known to be the most corrupt state. It was unbelievable. They owned members of parliament, civil servants, ministers. Even the prime minister of that state was owned by corrupt business people. Meaning they get told what to do, how to do their jobs, which tenders get issued by which office and when they get issued," he said.

'I get a call from a family that I call the G-Force'

Following his narrative about India and Russia, Maseko reverted back to South Africa and shared how he was kicked out of government when he took a stand against a "family that had power" over the government. He was referring to the Gupta family which was fingered in former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s state capture report.

"I get a call from a family that I call the G-Force. They tell me to award work worth R600m to one of their media companies. They say '[there is] R600m, you’re going to place adverts here and you don’t have a choice'. I say 'no, things don’t work like that in government' and they say 'you don’t understand, we are not asking you but we are telling you'," he said.

Maseko added that after some time of being pestered by family, he decided to have a meeting with them to understand and explain to them how things worked. He however received a call from higher up in government, informing him to "assist" the family.

"What upset me the most was that when I was going to have a meeting with them, as I’m driving to the famous 'Saxonworld shebeen', I get a call from someone higher up to say 'there are these kinds of individuals who want to talk to you, please help them out'. Essentially the picture they created in my head was that they are in charge," he said.

'They told me my days are numbered'

Maseko said he was ordered to do as he was told or face the family’s wrath for going against their orders.

"[They said] 'you are going to place these adverts, you are going to get this budget and you don’t have a say in this matter'. When I showed them my foot, they told me my days are numbered in government, in not so many words, and my days were indeed numbered, and I ended up leaving government.

"This was a family that is not in government that was demonstrating power to me that they can get anything they want," he said.

Maseko further added that the revelations by former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor and Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas that the family had offered them Cabinet positions further cemented the theory that the Gupta family was pulling the strings of government, while sitting at their house.

"You start to get a picture of people outside of government feeling like they own politicians in this country," he said.

This article first appeared on News24